College Football: N.C. State-Gardner-Webb preview

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 18, 2009

Associated Press
RALEIGH ó North Carolina State took a giant step forward last week by putting 65 points on the scoreboard.
The opponent may have been a Football Championship Subdivision team, but that didn’t stop coach Tom O’Brien from seeing improvement beyond the boxscore.
“You can tell if a guy’s in a good blocking position or good tackling position or backpedaling properly,” O’Brien said. “That’s why we talk all the time, it doesn’t matter what it says on the jersey or the helmet, you have to respect the game and play the game.”
The Wolfpack’s offense ó neutralized during a season-opening 7-3 loss to South Carolina ó is feeling much more confident after a 65-7 rout of Murray State last week. Now comes Gardner-Webb, another team from the FCS, which visits Raleigh tonight.
N.C. State (1-1) found the end zone just 87 seconds in against the Racers and led 45-0 at halftime, giving the impression that the offense may have found its groove. Two running backs scored three touchdowns each, and dropped passes ó a critical part of the loss to South Carolina ó were almost nonexistent.
“We had to get better pass protection, we had to get better at throwing and catching, doing a lot of things,” O’Brien said. “We did (get better). From a technical standpoint, we were in a good position, running routes the right way, and the quarterback was throwing the ball on time.”
Wilson ran his school-record streak to passes without an interception to 293. Among college quarterbacks, he trails only Kentucky’s Andre Woodson, who threw 325 passes without an interception in 2006 and 2007.
Teammate Julian Williams said the streak shows how far the redshirt sophomore has come in a short time.
“The quarterback position is so hectic,” said Williams.